The theme of this site is “the present and future of the connected world – from an European point of view”. Unfortunately, the “European point of view” is broadly under attack these days, due to various internal and external crises which put heavy pressure on the continent. The currently discussed parting of the EU and the UK is the most symbolic in a chain of events which, at least for the moment, weaken the EU. Based on the polls, about half the British actually do support a breakup between their country and the EU. You can find plenty of EU skeptics in many other EU member states, too.
I do understand the underlying motivations that make people turn against the idea of a unified political Europe and I try my best to be empathic. However, I think people who believe that exiting or weakening the EU will make their life and their country better in the mid and long run are wrong.
The world has reached an unprecedented state of globalization (I have written about that topic a few times lately), which leads to a tremendous amount of competition between the largest, most powerful and most populated players. There is competition about a lot of things: talents, ideas, resources, investments, technological innovation, digital excellence, cultural dominance, ideological dominance, military dominance, the race into space.
The modern Europe has achieved a lot, e.g. in politics, culture, economics, education, sustainability, secularism and, not the least, in keeping peace (at least over the past 70 days). But these achievements don’t just remain unrivaled. They need to be constantly defended, especially in today’s highly competitive globalized world. Other dominating and ambitions parts of this planet, such as the U.S., China, Russia, India and – despite wars and destruction – the Middle East, keep advancing and keep expanding their influence in the fields mentioned above.
A fragmented Europe in which all of the mostly tiny and – in global comparison – largely insignificant countries of the “old continent” are just looking at their own little world, will fail to compete and it will fail to defend its achievements and world view. Some regions might manage to maintain today’s niches for a while. But they increasingly will be forced to play by the rules of the dominating forces of this world. Largely, Europe and what it stands for will become irrelevant. Talents will go elsewhere, investments will go elsewhere, cultural and ideological dominance will come from elsewhere, digital excellence will happen elsewhere (it already is, but the EU is currently working on a “single digital market” to remove obstacles), prosperity will happen elsewhere. Left to Europeans will be memories about those “good old days” and a rapid diminishing of wealth, prosperity and general well-being.
It’s a historical, evolutionary and empirical fact that groups who cooperate to accomplish a common goal are stronger than those who are incapable of cooperation. Even if there is no guarantee for any predicted outcome in highly complex environments, the indications suggest that for the people of Europe, more Europe is better than less. Even if it might not immediately feel that way
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